Non-programmers wanting to create a startup face a major problem: they can’t program. Naturally, you’re going to need to find someone to work with. As a “non-programmer” (well, I like to call myself the biz/dev guy), I’ve had major trouble proving my worth to programmers & web developers in the past. Here are two of the major dilemmas that I fell in to when trying to recruit a programmers and web developers to collaborate on ideas with. Learn from them.
Dilemma #1: We think an idea is enough
Too many inexperienced “biz-guys” believe that the idea is king, and once you have an idea, it just needs to be implemented by some programmers. This is an extremely unhealthy and simplistic way of looking at things that will probably lead to disaster. The major hazard with this way of thinking is that the non-programmer will often see themselves as the one who invented the “genius idea” and now they can kick back and let the programmer do the tedious work. Now, you can do this if you have money to shell out to freelancers, but a lot of us are trying to find partners rather than workers; and if you’d like to do that, you need to offer much more. An idea definitely won’t be enough to get a programmer to sit down and dedicate time to working with you (especially if you’re paying in equity).
Whether it’s clever marketing technique, stellar leadership ability, or great communication skills, you need to find your talents and prove them. Good ideas are extremely important, but you need to have more than that to attract programmers and web developers to work along side you.
Dilemma #2: We don’t know any programmers
This was a big one for me. How was I supposed to find programmers who wanted to work with me for equity rather than cash when I didn’t have any programmer friends or acquaintances? By the time I realized that I had valuable skills, couldn’t completely code my web app by myself, and was truly determined about my vision, I had the most trouble finding good programmers who wanted to work with me.
I worked on this aspect a lot, and a lot of friends have said that I’ve mastered the ‘art’ of attracting programmers. To be honest with you, it’s no art at all and is a more-so effective communication and marketing yourself well. Assuming you’ll be the business-end of your startup one day, you’ll need to learn good communication skills, and attracting programmers and web developers is a lot like attracting customers. You offer them true value that’s hard to refuse, follow up on your promises, and prove yourself when the time comes. For this dilemma, I have quite a lot to say, and I go in to this in a lot of detail here.
There are many more dilemmas non-programmers fall in to when creating startups. The truth is, there are a lot of non-programmers out there who think they can make some easy cash being a startup entrepreneur. Many talented programmers have been approached by these shady ‘entrepreneurs’ and are weary of guys who claim to have great ideas. So as a non-programmer, your facing a major uphill battle when trying to find programmers to partner with. Ultimately, my advice to you is to differentiate yourself from them. You need to offer more.